The Chance for Insight
Your genes play an important part in determining who you are, from your eye and hair color to a medical condition you may develop.
Knowing if you are at higher genetic risk for certain types of cancers can give you a valuable head start in fighting cancer before it starts – in large part because you are informed and on the lookout.
About 5 to 10% of cancers are passed down from generation to generation (most cancers are the result of your lifestyle, environment, or age), but if you or your family members have been diagnosed with colon, breast, ovarian, uterine, or pancreatic cancer, you could be at increased risk for developing these cancers. At Virtua, genetic counseling is available to help clarify your risk.
By undergoing a blood or saliva test and completing your personal cancer risk assessment with our cancer genetics program, we will help you make informed health decisions for yourself and your family.
Getting Started with Genetic Counseling
Once you have scheduled your appointment, the next step in the process begins by completing personal and family medical history questionnaire. During your appointment your genetic counselor will review your questionnaire and determine if you meet criteria for genetic testing. Next, your counselor will discuss the discuss benefits, risks, and limitations of testing and collect a blood or saliva sample. Finally, once your genetic test results are available, your counselor will contact you to discuss the results and recommendations for next steps.By undergoing genetic counseling, you will:
- Discover if you have an increased genetic risk for cancer
- Receive personal, comprehensive counseling from cancer genetics experts including medical oncologists trained in cancer genetics, advanced practice nurses, board-certified genetic counselors, and social workers
- Learn what you can do to decrease your risk for developing cancer (screening and medical or surgical options)
- Receive information regarding clinical trials or research studies, if eligible
Breast and ovarian cancer syndromesGenetic tests are available for hereditary breast cancer. Among them are the most common hereditary breast cancer syndromes involving the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.
When genetic testing is complete and a mutation is found in one of the identified genes, your risk for developing certain types of cancer is significantly increased. For women, that means a higher risk for developing breast and/or ovarian cancer. For men, it is an increased risk for breast and prostate cancer. In addition, men and women who have already been diagnosed with these cancers are at increased risk for developing a second cancer. This makes genetic testing for breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer extremely important for those previously diagnosed.
Colorectal cancer syndromes
Genetic tests are available for hereditary colon cancer. Common inherited cancer syndromes include Lynch Syndrome (hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer, or HNPCC) and familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP). Lynch Syndrome increases your risk for colon, uterine, ovarian, and other cancers. FAP causes you to have hundreds of colon polyps and significantly increases your risk for colon cancer.
Genetic testing also is available for other gastrointestinal hereditary cancer syndromes.Take the next step to know if you are at increased risk for cancer. Call 856-247-7373 to make an appointment and start your personal assessment.